While we are not crazy about Auburn there is no doubt that the Western States trail is a beautiful area. We enjoyed coffee followed by a lovely run out of the canyon.
The Yuma river was definitely the best part of Grass Valley, CA. We really enjoyed hiking in and swimming along the river. It was particularly funny to watch everyone struggle to walk on the rocky beach.
Reno is the first city we have come across that has a art work all over their yard sale signs. We kept seeing poster after poster with imagery on it. Eventually we stopped to get a snap.
Mikey and I spent the last couple of days with a friend who we knew in NYC and who had also spent time with us in Truth or Consequences. Jeremy relocated to Reno. When I first heard I wondered why. This week I saw a very different Reno than I was holding in my imagination. For one thing Reno is pretty. Yep, tree lined, hilly and a mix of burbs, farms, and urban landscape. Somehow these things fit together well. Perhaps it is because Reno is not overpopulated. Reno is spacious, there is room for everyone. I heard that during the 2008 crash Reno was hit pretty hard. Many people left leaving behind infrastructure like old tudor homes and mid century modern public buildings. Downtown Reno has no shortage of places for socializing including breweries, restaurants of all variety, an art spaces similar to the Bay Area's American Steel or Brooklyn's Third Ward. Reno reminded me of Austin and of Little Five Points, Atlanta, cities in which people live in houses and not sky rises.
After the 08' crash Reno stopped building until the homes that had been left empty were filled again. Older homes were renovated and updated. Recently building restarted. People are coming back. Elon Musk's automotive and battery mega corp Tesla is opening shop. Despite growth, Reno (like Durango) has lovely resources (water not being one of them) with few people vying for them. Lets not forget the natural resources like mountains, rivers, and lakes, and abundant skiing, fishing, and hiking. There is room in Reno and it feels good. If Reno marked off a green belt like Boulder and Portland the now moderate home prices would likely skyrocket locking as they would preserve what is currently a good quality of life.
From what I could tell Reno is a mix of Californians from the Bay Area and Burners (folks who came to Burning Man and decided to stay) who contribute to a growing art scene. In two days I saw three art cars roll down main thoroughfares. Several of the garage sales I went to had boxes of costumes for sale. Reno also has a local Nevadian who is closer to the land than the newer comers. Farming and ranching can be found in the city limits. While folks in Truckee made a point of saying, "I'm from California (not Nevada)." In Reno the bragging rights include lower taxes than Cali, and cheap petro fuel.
Hesitatingly we left Reno for Grass Valley, CA today but I plan to return Reno to have a closer look. #renoiscool
We're heading out of Truckee, Ca today. We've been here for nearly a week. Everything you may have heard about Truckee is true. It is a beautiful place. A river runs through town carrying fresh mountain snow melt. Several lakes offer cold dips, beach, boating and pretty views. Despite a four year dry period - the river is low, skiing impaired, and rafting out of the question, residents and tourists alike find ways to enjoy nature's bounty. People are biking, hiking, and running everywhere.
This place has a tourist season that we missed by arriving early. I hear that during it's peak it can take 40 minutes to cross through the tiny town. Some local say that they hide out on weekends during season leaving restaurants and commercial row to the visitors.
What you may not know about Truckee is that there is a kombucha co-op, a hacker space starting up, several breweries, and a community of technical and creative people, many from the Bay area who are telecommuting. Never before have I seen so many vehicles modified to be lived in - short and long term - nor have I met so many people who are living in a vehicle. Their reasons are many - some go place to place seeking outdoor adventure in every season (freelancers with jobs) while some young folks are a step from homeless. Despite the town's awareness of this lifestyle, the police are gentle in their handling of vagabonds. In town public parks welcome all and for us have become a place to meet other vehicle dwellers. Just three miles from the center of downtown national forest campsites welcome overnighters at no fee. There's even a spot - loud and by a train but free - in the heart of downtown featuring signs that read "free parking 6pm to 10am."
There's money here. Most young people (in their 20s) drive newish high end vehicles meant for mixed terrain. Their toys are not cheap, roof racks house all variety of board and bike.
Truckee's best feature is the warmth and casual nature of the folks who live here. All admit that it is a transient place, people come for a while, even a few years, but not may stay for the duration. Most residents seem ready for conversation short or long, while standing in line or hanging out at a park. You won't find people rushing or honking on Truckees roads. The population of under 20k consider the region their extended home and they take advantage of Reno, and the many communities around Lake Tahoe. People on the CA side of the Cal/Nev border have made it a point of pride to live in Cali. Nearby on Lake Tahoe, Incline Village take a bad rap for being occupied by unwelcoming millionaires that don't share their town with anyone. When we drove through gates closed off every possible ancillary road, beaches were fenced and signs reminded all to keep moving.
Lastly, Truckee features a culture of dog lovers. Sesame made a dozen new, short term dog friends a day, has been welcome in many of the town's businesses, and is adored by the human population as well.
We loved Truckee. It's well worth a stop, even a extended stay.
I have been trouble shooting Hondo’s power system for the entire two weeks that we have been on the road. The problem has been that whenever I put more than a few amps through the cigarette lighter 12v system a fuse will blow. I’ve cobbled together a setup that prevents fuse blowing, but it also slows down charging. In the mean time we are carrying a bunch of extra fuses for the male cigarette light plug and the cars internal fuse box. There must be a short to ground or compromised cable somewhere inside the vehicle. This totally blows as I was hoping to heat water while driving for coffee, tea and oatmeal.
Mikey and I are more than a little prone to obsessive compulsive behavior. We're super neat and organized and we enjoy the activities that lead to being neat and organized. We're domestic. Living in a 35 square foot toaster offers new opportunities to fine tune our craft. The stakes are high when your living in a car where disorder leads to stress. To the degree that things always return to the same spot, they can be found. Imaging searching for your headlamp after sunset, toilet paper when you are in a rush, or water while parched in the dry desert.
The Honda Element has three hand holds and many hooks, some hidden in compartments. Mikey and I have each taken over one handhold. Mine (seen here) houses my water bottle during the night so its in reach, hair ties, a head lamp, a collapsible shopping bag, and a small tote containing the few bits of jewelry I am traveling with. Next to this hand hold a bungee crosses over a recessed window covered in mylar bubble. The bungees hold back a host of things including: window mylar not in use at the time, a laundry bag, and two folding camping stools. Above hangs shock chord with one roll of paper towel and one roll of TP. A bungee's hook holds Sesame's leash, and the loop of the shock chord holds a wash cloth, one of two, this one is for face and hands. The one below is for messier things. Finally next to this configuration is Sesame's no spill water bowl. Everything in its place.
As we get into the Sierra Nevada Mountains the weather is starting to look amazing! The sun is out, the rain has stopped and even the wind has mellowed out. This photo was taken along HWY 50 Nevada.